Seeds, a social game for mobile micro-lending founded in Nairobi is only a few votes to win the $10K prize Duke Alumni Startup Challenge up against 15 other teams in a tour the founder is doing to popularise the venture and raise more funds to help out women entrepreneurs in Nairobi grow their small businesses with ease.
You can vote for them on Facebook here.
Founded by Rachel Cook, a Duke University alumni, Seeds is a social gaming platform where players buy “leaves” – a bitcoin kind of currency in $1 or $2 denominations. This money goes to women in Africa as micro-loans.
With a few loans already disbursed out and repayments made via M-Pesa, Rachel believes the game solves the problem of many women entrepreneurs especially in informal settlements and unemployment and running their small businesses. The loans help the women expand their small businesses and pay back and even borrow more.
Kenya has several banks offering as much money as one requires but the small-scale women entrepreneurs may not have the collateral and business registration documents to access the loans. Another aspect is most of them use mobile money to store and send money and at times buy their wares and have no documents to show of their business transactions.
Safaricom’s Mshwari, a mobile phone banking service was introduced to help the unbanked access loans and savings from their mobile phones but there is still a gap as one has to save before they borrow which is hard for their small businesses as most of the money is ploughed back as capital.
Cook told TechMoran in Nairobi about her documentary called The Microlending Film Project showing the needs of microfinance to these struggling local women in developing economies. She is now on her 50+-stop university tour screening The Microlending Film Project and promoting Seeds.
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